Can Advertisements Ever Be Totally Free From “LIES”?

A trusted brand

One of my favourite lectures is the one I have delivered countless times on “advertising.” I love the topic a lot because, apart from being very interesting, my audience have always shown excitement and interest in the topic as examples of adverts are found everywhere, including the venues of the lectures.

No doubt, adverts are indispensable tools in the success of a business. It is one tiny part of marketing which a number of businesses have invested millions and billions with the hope of recouping back amounts spent from the huge sales that is expected to arise from the adverts.

Hence, I am a strong advocate of “treat advertisement costs as investments costs” rather than as “running costs.” If you look at it critically, you will agree that advertisements are actually investments which, may, or may not yield expected returns.

Advertisement creates awareness, puts competitors in check, teaches consumers how to use the products, tells consumers where to get the products, persuades consumers to buy products, sometimes against their wishes, and hopefully, leads to improved sales and profits.

However, as good as adverts are, there is one thing I do not like about some of them – and that is the lies and deception that comes with most, if not all adverts. Well, you might want to call it “make-belief” efforts to sell a product, cos that’s actually what they are. The part of these “movies” that can be very frustrating is when an organisation tells you things (so many) that they cannot do; things that are not deliverable; things that their products are not synonymous with; promises that are far beyond their abilities; promises which greatly surpasses their capacity and current status….

This post is coming because of the frustrating experience I have been having with a particular mobile service provider (name withheld) here in Nigeria for the past four days. I actually have three lines. If each of them had kept their advert promises I would not be having three lines in the first place.

This particular service provider made me go for them through their very persuasive adverts, which have now lived up to the best way to describe adverts – “make-belief movies.” I hardly make calls with this line as calls hardly go through. And when they do, most often than not, a dropped calls’ tone is what I hear. This happens most of the time.

As at the time of putting this post together, I have not been able to get help from their ever-unreliable, and hard-to-get-through toll-free customer care center. For four days my ear drums has been subjected (annoyingly) to all sorts of “make-belief movies” … oh! I meant adverts – just to resolve a recharge card issue.

This company is not alone in this game of unkept promises. We hear, see and read about them everyday – sugar-coated appeals – most of them ending up as LIES and over-bloated promises.

So I ask : can all advertisements ever be free from deliberate lies and over-bloated promises ? Is it not possible for businesses to tell us what is feasible within their abilities and stop living in another businesses’s dreams? Would it not be better for businesses to review their adverts to reflect their current status, rather than tell us they are capable of doing what was stíll on their drawing board (or never was)?….

Well, while you ponder over my questions and annoyance, I am still considering throwing away the SIM card of this very annoying mobile service provider. Tank God for alternatives.

However, thumbs up for companies that have consistently made statements in their adverts which they have really worked hard to see those statements and claims come to reality. Some of the products of such companies are regular features in my home. Even my son (4+) appreciates good quality.

So, businesses should realise that they cannot take their customers on a false ride for too long.

Thanks for your time.

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